Tzu Chi University’s YABI Children’s Theatre Brings a World of Laughter to Children in Rural Areas


The Department of Child Development and Family Studies’ YABI Children’s Theatre launched its 20th production, “The Quest for the Heart’s Potion,” on a heartfelt tour across Hualien County, beginning March 5, 2024. This year’s journey includes visits to Fengren, Ruibei, Fengshan, and Fuli Elementary Schools, emphasizing locations that have not seen their performances in the last three years. Notably, the visit to Fengshan Elementary School was a first, offering many children their inaugural experience with live theater. The lively engagement and authentic connections formed between the young audience and the performers brought joy and inspiration to both the children and the Tzu Chi University students involved.

On their tour, TCU students navigated varied venues, creatively overcoming challenges like stages without curtains and making quick prop changes. At Fengshan Elementary School on March 12, the absence of a backstage demanded innovative solutions for rest areas and manual scene changes, captivating the children with each new scene. Stage director Yi-Jie Wu noted, “We adapted our professional sound and lighting to each setting, striving to give the children an experience akin to a formal theater.”

In “The Quest for the Heart’s Potion” by YABI Children’s Theatre, Princess Delia, marked by a birthmark and unique attire, journeys with friends to find a potion, learns that true magic lies in self-love and ignoring others’ judgments. This heartwarming tale underscores the importance of acceptance and self-esteem, showing how too much concern from others can impact confidence.

“Everyone seems to only like her/him.” “I don’t like how I look right now.” These feelings resonate deeply as interpersonal relationships shape us from a young age. Watching Princess Delia’s quest for magic, the audience discovered meaningful lessons, including Yi-Zhen Ju, a fourth grader from Fengshan Elementary School. Yi-Zhen remarked, “We may see our strengths as weaknesses due to others’ opinions. It’s important not to compare ourselves or worry about what others think.” The children, engrossed for nearly two hours, laughed and discussed the story, bringing a lively atmosphere to the venue. Principal Yan-Hui Shieh’s support made YABI Children’s Theatre’s performance at Fengshan Elementary School possible, highlighting a powerful message: “This play encourages children to look beyond appearances, embrace their strengths, and foremost, to love themselves.”

The 28 TCU students showcased their versatility, handling over 30 props and multiple roles from publicity to acting. Jie-Yu Jiang penned the inspiring song “Journey,” encouraging self-acceptance and bravery: “Learn to be yourself… face challenges fearlessly, we’re with you, love yourself deeply.” This tour uplifted the children and enlightened future educators about the educational gap between urban and rural settings, deepening their understanding and dedication.